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The Walker School

The Walker School is a coeducational private special needs school for students in grades Kindergarten through 8.

Institution Type: Private Setting: Rural


The Walker School's Full Profile



The Walker School says

Founded in 1961, Walker is a leader in special education, behavioral health, residential treatment, hospital-diversion, professional training, and community consultation for children and youth facing complex emotional, behavioral, and learning challenges. Each year, Walker seeks to transform the lives of nearly 20,000 children and youth ages 3 to 22 in more than 60 communities across Massachusetts. Using evidence-based practices and data-driven interventions, Walker’s professionals partner with these children and youth, their families, and communities to nurture hope and develop lifelong skills. Walker combines clinical and academic expertise with a commitment to strength-based, child-centered and family-driven care so that vulnerable yet resilient children and youth can build on their continuous learning while developing new confidence to achieve their potential and meet challenges. Through programming in Needham and Watertown, and partnerships with more than 44 school districts and education networks across the Commonwealth, Walker supports children and youth, their families and communities to help realize a brighter future.


The Walker School is a Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education approved private special education school comprising a coeducational K-8 academic program for children ages 5 through 13 with complex presentations that are often manifested by behavioral, social, and emotional challenges. The Walker School is an extended-year program with the capacity to serve 80 students. To meet the unique learning needs of each student, the Walker School offers an academic program that fully incorporates the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, developmentally appropriate practices, and intensive therapeutic services. Our school and classroom environments are designed to help students, whose educational needs have not been met in previous programs and settings, build interpersonal and social skills that enable them to successfully access a general education curriculum. For example, we offer many in-class supports that promote self-regulation and concentration, including but not limited to:

Instructional design with a focus on pacing (e.g., extending/adjusting time, allowing sensory breaks, frequent variation in activities) Supplementary aids (e.g., adaptive seat cushions, sensory toys and materials, graphic organizers) Assistive technology (e.g., computers, iPads, specialized software, audiobooks) Our classroom educational teams provide significant individualized support to students. Our classroom educational teams include a licensed teacher, an assistant teacher, and a milieu staff. Our classroom ratio is higher than the industry norm, and we have a number of supervisory staff and support staff available to assist student as needed. Additionally, each student and his/her family/legal guardian work with a multidisciplinary team that includes the aforementioned teaching and milieu staff, as well as a clinician, psychopharmacologist, and other specialists as needed (e.g., speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist and technology specialists). Working together, the team is able to ensure that the student and his/her family/legal guardian have input into the development and ongoing review of the student’s individualized education plan and clinical and behavioral support plans. Educational Coordinators are available to assist the team with developing and implementing instructional modifications and specialized approaches to teaching and learning that may benefit a particular student and/or the student community as a whole.

Behavioral, social, and emotional skills are addressed throughout the school day - in class, during structured recess and lunch groups, and in classroom-based social skills therapy groups. Each child is assigned a clinician who assesses the child and his/her family’s strengths and needs and is responsible for coordinating the program’s services with community-based services. For students in need of additional support for self-help and daily living skills, these issues may also be addressed in the classroom.

In all of our work with students, we draw heavily on the use of evidence-based practices and trauma-informed care, and we have systems in place to assess progress toward academic and behavioral, social, and emotional goals.

Mission Statement

Walker transforms the lives of children and youth who are facing complex emotional, behavioral, and learning challenges, by partnering with these children and youth, their families, and communities to nurture hope, build strengths, and develop lifelong skills.



Private schools, including parochial and boarding, are funded through tuition and fees. The cost varies from school to school, but most families pay tuition to attend them. Many private schools offer financial aid or discounts, so it's worthwhile to ask about these options.


  (781) 449-4500

Students and Faculty

Students and Faculty

Enrollment Data

Total Enrollment 73
Enrollment By Grade
Grade Number of Students
Kindergarten 2
1 4
2 4
3 9
4 13
5 16
6 11
7 13
8 1

The Walker School's relatively variable enrollment profile may offer insights into student retention rates, local population changes, real estate costs, and the accessibility of alternative educational options. to find out more about the specific factors influencing The Walker School's enrollment numbers.

Student Teacher Ratio 8 : 1
Gender 64% Male / 36% Female
Student Diversity
Percentage of Student Body
White 56%
Multi-racial 4%
Hispanic/Latino 25%
Black or African American 11%
Asian 4%

Associations & Memberships

State or regional independent school association

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